Which Is The Best Scroll Saw? 2022 Buyers Guide

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A scroll saw is a pretty unique tool and admittedly they aren’t one that just anyone is going to need! However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be incredibly useful for anyone who is regularly completing woodwork jobs, or working with non-ferrous metals and even plastics.

The point of a scroll saw is that the narrow blade is fixed into one place, but you can then move the materials around the blade as necessary. With a little practice, this allows you to cut really intricate and detailed designs into materials that otherwise you would struggle to complete. They aren’t really a tool for beginners – but are invaluable for anyone that is completing jobs which require a little more skill!

Best Pick Scroll Saw

Scheppach 240V Variable Speed Hobby Scroll Saw
  • Flexible shaft for drilling, sanding, polishing and graving etc
  • Accepts saw-blades with or without pins
  • Flexible work light ensures good sight while working
  • Continuously variable working speeds to match your material
  • Polished aluminium table tilts to 45°

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Why Choose A Scroll Saw?

A scroll saw is a power-tool which is driven by a motor. They are very popular with both beginners and more experienced workers due to the fact that they are very quiet and create very little dust compared to larger models. For beginners, scroll saws are going to be easy to work with and offer more control than other tools such as a jigsaw. Equally, for more experienced workers, they provide the flexibility and possibility of being able to work with a range of materials and create a wide range of angles from dovetail joints and detailed curves. 

  • Much more freedom in design
  • Reduced time and effort compared to other models
  • Quiet and clean 
  • Relatively small in size

Ultimately, a scroll saw is one of the best ways to take your woodwork (and other material) designs to the next level! Just look at the design created in this video…

In A Hurry?

There are two main types of scroll saw that you will be able to choose from, along with some of the other key features that you need to consider. Here is what we found…

Types of Scroll Saw

Before you can go any further you need to choose the type of scroll saw that is going to be right for you. We have explained the pros and cons of both.

Parallel ArmC-Arm
Two arms each with a central pivot point parallel to one another 
The lower arm is connected to the motor 
The upper arm supports the blade, which moves in a reciprocating (up and down) motion, resulting in a concise vertical cut
Relatively easy to use so perfect for beginners
Most popular option thanks to the intricacy you can work with
Easier to cut straight lines and accurately due to the blade not cutting as quickly.
The single pivot point, resulting in the blade moving in a subtle arc motion as it reciprocates
The arc motion of the blade allows it to push through the material quickly
More aggressive and faster than a Parallel Arm scroll saw so if you need a quick job then this is the tool to choose
Requires a skilled and steady operator to achieve accurate results – much easier to make mistakes

One important safety factor to consider is that should the blade snap/break, on a Parallel Arm scroll saw, the upper arm will move in response to the change in blade tension and the motor will turn off; however a C-Arm scroll saw motor will only stop running in response to a manual shut down. Parallel Arm scroll saws are therefore more popular due to the safety implications of a C-Arm and the fact they’re easier to control. 

If you are wanting to see for yourself the differences in the blade movement and design then check out this video!

TOP TIP: If you are still struggling to decide between the two types of scroll saw then why not opt for a double parallel arm. This combines the best of both worlds as you have the accuracy of a parallel saw but the slightly more aggressive cut of the C-arm scroll saw.

Blade Types

Some scroll saws can only work with specific types of blades – either pinned or pinless – whereas other scroll saws can work with both types of blades. We find that the models which allow you to work with both type of blades are going to increase the number of jobs that the tool can be used for. 

Pinned blades (also known as pin-end) are wider and thicker so they can be used for cutting thicker pieces of wood. They’re going to work quicker and be easy to change so for larger, simple jobs – a pinned blade is the best option. 

Pinless blades (unpinned) are thinner and therefore much more versatile. They produce a much more careful cut so if you are looking to create finer, more detailed designs then these are definitely the right blades for you. 

This is why a model that can use both is always best, as you can use the pinned blade to cut the material to size, then the pinless blade to create the perfect design! 

There are then some more considerations you need to make. Remember you can have more than one type of blade as scroll saw blades are relatively simple to change.

Blade Features 
Standard blades Has teeth of the same size, set equal distance apart
Available for use on both metal and wood
Metal – smaller teeth and less space between them
Wood – large teeth with more space between them
Skip tooth blades Blades which skip a tooth, resulting in a gap between the teeth
Perfect for sawing through dense, more challenging materials
Double tooth bladesLarger gap between teeth and skip a tooth
Produce clean, smooth cuts
Precision ground bladesAlternative version to the skip tooth blade: has smaller, ground, sharper teeth
Cuts in straight lines
Produces an exceptionally smooth cut
Spiral blades Can be used to cut in all directions
A bunch of twisted blades which result in teeth capable of cutting 360° without the user having to turn the workpiece

Scroll Saw Power

Scroll Saw Throat Size 

The throat size of a scroll saw is the distance from the blade to where a workpiece will make contact with the back of the saw. This then determines the size of the piece of material that the blade can cut through. Obviously, a smaller throat size is going to be easier to work with as it is much easier to manoeuvre the material and keep control, but a larger throat size gives much more flexibility in the jobs that you can complete if you are professional. 

To work out the size of material that you will be able to work with – simply double the throat size. So a 14” throat size means you can work with 28” of material on your scroll saw.

Scroll Saw Cutting Speed

The scroll saw cutting speed is the speed that the blade will move up and down controlled by the motor. This is measured in strokes per minute (SPM). 

It is really important that you opt for a scroll saw with a wide variation of cutting speeds (SPM) as different speeds will be used on different jobs. You can work quickly when cutting straight through materials, but more detailed jobs will require a slower speed to avoid mistakes. Different materials also need different cutting speeds.

  • 400-800SPM – Suitable for most types of soft wood including balsa and white pine
  • 1000-1800SPM – Suitable for hard wood, such as oak and mahogany, but also plastics and acrylics

Depth of Cut

This is as simple as it sounds – the thickness of a piece of material, otherwise known as a workpiece, that a scroll saw will be able to cut through. This is known as the cut depth.

Most scroll saws have a similar cut depth of around 2″ (50mm) but heavy duty models will allow for slightly thicker materials.

Best Budget Scroll Saw

Einhell 4309040 TC-SS 405E 120 W Scroll Saw, Red
  • A solid base guarantee a stable placing even during working, Metal work table adjustable up to 45°
  • Quick-release clamp makes it easy to change the saw blade
  • The work piece hold-down enables accurate cuts and safety work
  • Connection for dust extrator for a tidy workshop, 1 additional spare saw blade is included in the packaging
  • The unit can be affixed directly to the workbench, Perfect view to the workpiece due to the blow-off-function

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

The Best Scroll Saws Have….

Hopefully, you should now have an idea of the type of scroll saw that you are looking for and the main requirements that you need to get the job done. Don’t forget these additional features though…

Working table

The scroll saw table provides a surface for the workpiece being cut – this is known as the working table. It needs to be of a decent size, made of a durable material and ideally one which offers the option to tilt (normally anything from 0° up to 45°); the tilting feature will enable the user to carry out bevel edge cuts.

When it comes to size, the scroll saw working table should be large enough to support a workpiece in its entirety. You also want a scroll saw working table made from aluminium or cast iron which will be hard-wearing and provide just enough resistance to marginally move the workpiece whilst cutting, but not so much resistance that the accuracy of the cut is affected.

TOP TIP: Scroll saw tables that tilt on both sides will offer much more ease and flexibility when working.

Dust Extraction Outlet 

Although scroll saws make less mess than many other types of saws – the best scroll saws will undoubtedly still come fitted with a dust extraction outlet or dust port. Not only is sawdust messy, it can also pose as a serious health risk to those who are exposed to it in large quantities or on a regular basis –  it’s a known carcinogen (material capable of causing cancer), as well as being a nasty irritant to the eyes, nose and throat. Consequently, you want a scroll saw that comes fitted with an efficient sawdust management system – whether this be a blower hose, dust port or dust collector. 

NOTE: Make sure to check whether you need to make any additional purchases for dust extraction. Many models will require you to attach a dust extraction device.

LED Work light 

An LED work light means you can use your scroll saw at night, or under low-lighting, but still achieve precise, clean and accurate cuts. It’s a luxury but worth paying a few extra pounds for when the crafting work you’ll be carrying out with your scroll saw is likely to require maximum accuracy with little or no margin for error.

Working Safely With A Scroll Saw

A scroll saw might only be small, but it’s still a saw and is capable of cutting through wood and plastic!! Providing it’s used in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, the risk of injury is low, but there are still a few safety pointers worth keeping in mind:

  • Avoid clutter – have a clean and tidy work area 
  • Ensure the workspace is well-ventilated
  • Clear the surrounding area of any potential trip hazards  
  • Ensure you have an appropriate level of lighting 
  • Check the tension of the cutting blade prior to switching on the power 
  • Wear protective eyewear and a ventilation mask or respirator when operating the scroll saw
  • Stand to either the left or right of the saw blade in case of blade breakage 
  • Keep your fingers clear of the scroll saw blade
  • Tie back long hair and secure loose items of clothing

Best of the Rest

FERM Scroll Saw - Fret Saw - 90W - Adjustable Working Table (0-45 degrees) - With 10 Sawblades and Dust Blowing System - For Wood, Plastics and Non-Ferrous Metal
  • Quick release function for easy saw blade exchange
  • Mitre / parallel guide for precise working
  • Working table adjustable from 0 - 45 degrees
  • Dust blowing system for a clean working surface
  • Robust cast iron housing

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Scheppach 405mm Scroll/Fret Saw- 220-240V, Precision in Every Cut | SD1600V
  • Please refer to our terms of sale and full terms and conditions prior to purchasing
  • Cutting Height/Depth: 50 / 406 mm
  • Saw Blade Length: 134 mm
  • Tiltable Work Table up to 45°
  • Variable Stroke Speed 500 – 1700 min-1 with 21 mm Stroke Height

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Other Saws To Consider

If you are questioning whether a scroll saw is the right option for you then there are lots of other options to consider. Some have more flexibility in the jobs that you can complete – like a reciprocating saw. Whereas others offer more stability for simple “straight line” jobs – like a table saw. Here are some of your alternative options…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of wood to use with a scroll saw?

Plywood (particularly Baltic Birch), cedar and poplar are the best woods to cut with a scroll saw. Poplar is particularly popular as it has a straight, even grain with a consistent texture, meaning the cutting speed can remain constant so you don’t have to worry about stopping and changing the scroll saw blades. 

When should I use a scroll saw?

A scroll saw is used for cutting intricate designs in wood, plastic, non-ferrous metal and acrylic. It provides the speed and power of an electric hand saw but produces cuts with the precision and accuracy of a fine handheld blade or craft knife.  

Is a scroll saw better than a jigsaw?

This really depends on the jobs that you are planning on completing. A jigsaw is going to allow you to work with thicker materials which is great for if you are completing bigger jobs. However, a scroll saw is much better suited for if you are wanting to complete more intricate cuts in detail with a higher quality finish.

Is it difficult to use a scroll saw?

No – scroll saws are actually very easy to use and provided they are used correctly they are relatively safe to use too. However, it does take quite a bit of practice if you are wanting to create intricate and detailed designs.

About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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